by Lisa Maguire
Year four of our annual Lifestyle Challenge is a wrap, and another set of winners have taken home titles and awesome prizes – the top prize being a year’s free membership with VIP massage upgrade and 12 free personal training sessions.
The HAC Lifestyle Challenge isn’t necessarily about losing weight. It is about making meaningful changes that result in an overall healthier state of being. Leading a healthier, more fulfilling life isn’t only based on the numbers on the scale. It’s based on how you feel. How “healthy” you are medically. What you’re able to do when you’re not overtired, overstressed, overfull, or out of shape. While many people in this challenge did lose weight, and some a significant amount, weighing less doesn’t automatically make you healthier – carrying less fat does.
Carrying too much body fat can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and other serious medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. While carrying excess weight also has many adverse, and even serious, health effects, if you can change the amount of body fat being carried, the right kind of weight loss is sure to go with it. Weight can be lost in the form of water, muscle, or fat, so we chose to judge the HAC Lifestyle Challenge contestants based on the percentage of body fat lost.
Body fat is the percentage of the total body mass that is fat vs. lean. In order to change the amount of body fat, a person must lose fat. Simple, right? Well, the trick here is to try to retain – or even gain – muscle in the process. If a person eats a diet that is too restrictive, or doesn’t work out, or over eats but works out like crazy, it will be difficult to change body fat percentage meaningfully – this is where the “lifestyle” part comes in.
Saying “today’s the day” and beginning the commitment to a life of health and wellness isn’t always as easy as it sounds. It takes hard work, dedication, and a whole lot of willpower. Eating a well-balanced diet (because it’s not just how much you eat, it’s what you’re eating), working out regularly, getting adequate rest, and managing stress levels are all major factors in getting to where you want to be.
We are so proud of everyone who participated in the 2019 HAC Lifestyle Challenge. Our 43 participants chose to work with a personal trainer either once or twice per week and were given a detailed handbook for success, access to our exclusive “Lose it for Life” blog, fitness and nutrition journal, and weekly weigh-ins. After just a short three months, a combined total of combined 493.75 inches, 294.7 lbs, and 99.9% body fat were lost! Great job to all who took the challenge, and a very special congratulations to our top three finishers, Janice, Laura, and Jason.
7 Changes You Can Make Today
- Set a limit for yourself on how many times a week or month you can eat out, and once you’ve reached that limit, commit to cooking at home.
- Next time you’re on the treadmill, add an incline, increase your speed by even one notch, or add just 30 more seconds to your normal workout.
- Commit to planning just three of your weekly meals and pack just three lunches for work. Once you get into the habit, up those numbers!
- Try something new in your exercise routine – a new class, targeting a new muscle group, etc.; the variety allows your body to be challenged.
- Swap out your office chair for an exercise ball, or graduate to a standing desk.
- Set a time in the evening that you can’t eat past and hold yourself to it.
- When serving yourself at a meal, take just one scoop less than you normally would.